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GREENCYCLES Biogeochemistry and Climate Change Research and Training Network



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Training Goal

European research centres and collaborative programmes are performing cutting edge work in both observations and modelling, but we are losing out to other regions through the lack of an organized research programme where these two aspects are brought together. Such a programme would cut across institutional and disciplinary boundaries to foster new developments that more specialized local programmes will miss. The second problem is that far too few scientists are being trained in this research area. Major reasons for this are the cross disciplinary nature of the science (atmospheric physics, biology, chemistry, ecology, and remote sensing), and the relatively recent appreciation of the importance of global change for future human welfare. The highly significant environmental and policy implications of human impacts on the functioning of the Earth require a rapid increase in the number of qualified scientists capable of ‘joined up thinking’ across traditional scientific boundaries. To respond to this challenge we have created a research and training network linking key European centres of excellence in the field of global biogeochemical cycles, with the aims of fostering the education of the next generation of Earth system scientists, and significantly improving the quality of information to policy makers concerned with global environmental change. The network will not only train future independent scientists, but will also promote the transfer of knowledge, ideas, and people between major European research centres, thereby integrating and advancing European science and contributing to the vision of a European Research Area.

The Network as a whole is appointing 13 Early Stage Researchers (ESR) and 5 Experienced Researchers (ER).

Training of ESRs focuses on immersion in their host laboratory's research team, plus visits to a second node to gain additional research experience and access to non-locally available courses. Each ESR will have the opportunity to attend available graduate courses, research schools (including, specifically, the European Research Course on Atmospheres (ERCA) and the UK Earth System Science Summer School (ES4)) and attend all relevant workshops.

ERs will spend 1-6 months at a second node within the Network. This is an important means for transfer of knowledge (ToK). ToK will also occur through 5 workshops: MetO (1: Fire); ULUND (2: Methane); ASP (3: RS and scaling issues); Eotvos Lorand University, Hungary (2: model-data synthesis) and MetO (5: policy and public opinion).

Annual network meetings are also held. The first meeting was hosted by the CEA in Paris, France in January of 2005. Our year 2 meeting was hosted by ISA in Lisbon, Portugal in February 2006. In year 3 of the project, our network meeting was held in Barcelona, Spain, hosted by CREAF in March 2007 and our year 4 meeting was held at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France.

ERs and senior host scientists also contribute to ToK by frequent contact with researchers at other nodes through reciprocal seminars, and inputs to the workshops and summer schools. Five plenary lectures will be added to the ERCA 'summer school' by network scientists. Mentoring relationships will be established whereby each ESR will be associated to on ER, who will provide advice on scientific issues, as well as project management and making the best use of expertise within the network and elsewhere - this mentoring will be, of course, supplementary to that provided by the host supervisor.

In order to help manage each of our ESR and ER's time and objectives in an optimum fashion, upon appointment, they have each constructed a Career Development Plan (CDP). These plans are written with their supervisor, in liaison with the with the network co-ordinator and manager, to lay out an agenda for the duration of their appointment as well as highlighting major career goals and specifying objectives which need to be met along the way towards these goals. CDPs also outline any complementary training provided to the ESRs and ERs during their appointment, such as training in: programming/supercomputing; manuscript and proposal preparation; presentation skills; project management; languages and policy.

Finally, attendance and presentation at major international meetings will be encouraged for both ESRs and ERs, as well as smaller conferences, meetings, and seminar series. A special GREENCYCLES session is organised at the EGU General Assembly 2008, at which a wide range of network science achievements will be presented. To read more about the EGU-2008 session organised by GREENCYCLES...

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